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Pacific FC clinches CPL playoff berth with victory over York United

Tridents humbled York United 4-1 in a Canadian Premier League fixture in the Greater Toronto Area.
York United FC vs Pacific FC - Sept 17th 2023. Amer Didic (Adonijah Reid in background) and Kevin Santos. Photo Credit: CHANT York United FC vs Pacific FC - Sept 17th 2023. Amer Didic, with Adonijah Reid in background, and Kevin Santos fight for the ball as Pacific FC downs York United Sunday in the Greater Toronto Area. DAVID CHANT PHOTO

The swashbuckling offensive version of Pacific FC returned Sunday as the Tridents humbled York United 4-1 in a Canadian Premier League fixture in the Greater Toronto Area.

The result, combined with HFX’s 3-2 victory over Atlético Ottawa on Monday in Halifax, assured second-place PFC one of the five CPL playoff berths to join leading Cavalry FC of Calgary as the two teams that have clinched.

Smart, crisp build-ups and crafty assists led to the PFC goals Sunday as Thomas Meilleur-Giguère scored at 11 minutes, Sean Young at 18 minutes, Manny Aparicio at 62 minutes on his birthday and David Brazao at 79 minutes. Osaze De Rosario, son of second all-time Canada leading scorer Dwayane De Rosario, scored at 86 minutes for York United to ruin Emil Gazdov’s bid for a clean sheet.

Former MLS Montreal Impact prospect Meilleur-Giguère had 12 appearances for Canada Under-20s, including in the 2017 CONCACAF championship, and was selected for the Canada U-23 team for the CONCACAF regional Tokyo Olympics qualifying tournament and has been a reliable presence on the Tridents backline for four seasons. The native of Repentigny, Que., is also at times sneaky in slipping untracked into attack and scored his second goal of the season to get PFC started Sunday.

“We had a rough couple of weeks in terms of goals … a lot of goals is what we needed,” said Meilleur-Giguère, in the post-game media conference.

“It’s not enough just to tie games. To win in a big way feels great. We could have had six or seven [goals]. We expect ourselves to win.”

PFC head coach James Merriman said his players showed more urgency and “stayed steady and calm and didn’t get too low” during a recent dry spell on offence.

York United head coach and Victoria product Martin Nash, who as a player was 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion and a 38-time Canada-capped former Vancouver Whitecaps pro, was frustrated by his team.

“We didn’t come with the bare minimum requirements of professional football to play a game,” said the St. Michaels University School graduate, in the post-game media conference.

“We didn’t come with energy or passion. When that happens what happened tonight is going to happen every time you step onto the field. It was sloppy technically as well. They [PFC] had numerous chances. It could have been worse than four [goals]. It was very poor.”

The result left sixth-place York United one point out of a playoff position behind fifth-place Atlético Ottawa. Five teams will make the post-season in the Page playoff system.

“It was inexcusable in a game that means so much to us,” added Nash.

“We’ve got to find a way as a group to dig deeper and want it more. [Tridents] wanted it more. They had the energy. We didn’t have enough guys at it. The biggest frustration is the collective effort.”

PFC closes out the regular season on Saturday in Hamilton, Ont., versus Forge FC, at Starlight Stadium on Sept. 30 against Vancouver FC and in Calgary on Oct. 7 against Cavalry FC.

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